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Plex Media Player Now Doesn't Require a Subscription; Pass Users Get Kodi Plug-in ( 84

Plex and Kodi, two popular home theater apps, can get both of them together. Plex has announced its new Kodi add-on so you can include your Plex library in Kodi (provided you're a Pass user). From a report on Engadget: The new plugin includes most of the features you'd come to expect from Plex, which means it'll play back nearly any video or music format and cleverly categorize your media library. It simply lets you run the two media centers simultaneously without losing any of your customizations. It's currently only available to Plex Pass subscribers (it will be released publicly soon) and it doesn't yet work with Plex Companion remote control, but it does sport a brand new user interface (UI) that Plex says helps to "showcase some of our new thinking."
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Plex Media Player Now Doesn't Require a Subscription; Pass Users Get Kodi Plug-in

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Plex and Kodi, two popular home theater apps, can get both of them together.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Even once you manage to parse the language, it's still not clear what the story's about. Why would you want to run two HT apps, except maybe as a short term thing if your swtiching? Normally you pick one, and that's your ten-foot interface for your HTPC. Even if the Plex library features are better than Kodi's, that wouldn't justify installing up two whole separate HT software suites, and then accessing the library of one of them via a plugin in the other, that sounds so kludgy.

      • by slaker ( 53818 ) on Thursday December 01, 2016 @01:02PM (#53402195)

        Re: Why run two?

        Kodi for highly customizable local access and Plex Media Server for external access and transcoding for STBs, mobile devices and less capable clients (cough iOS cough)

        Plex has had user authentication for a while, something that Kodi just got recently, and it's easier on Plex to track viewing where Kodi needs the gymnastics of a third-party database and some time investment to get that running.
        On the other hand, Kodi is much more flexible for playback formats and presentation, and it has a much better addon ecosystem. Plex has Channels but they're an afterthought for most people, and the Plex presentation on a given client probably sucks unless you really love scrolling through long lists one title at a time.

        • Maybe you and others can help me. I'm debating which of the two, Kodi or Plex to use.

          I'm setting my living room home theater again. I'm cutting the cord.

          I'm using Amazon FireTV boxes near each tv for streaming (netflix, amazon and PS VUE for 'cable channel streaming'). I have Tivo OTA Roamio in living room and Tivo minis in other rooms to DVR and stream local HD channels.

          In my living room, I'm setting up my good stereo again...THIS is where I'm looking mostly for Plex or Kodi.

          I am wanting to put all m

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Both handle lossless just fine. For strictly music there is a trade-off. PLEX makes it easiest to centralize your media and access it from multiple devices. KODI has a nicer user interface and more pleasant experience scrolling through your libraries, and is very customizable as a interface. Kodi has more filters and allows you to most easily add your own artist artwork/fanart/etc.

            I use both actively, but more and more just use PLEX for music, primarily because of compatibility with Chromecast Audio, of whi

          • by Anonymous Coward

            BTW, both have playlists. PLEX's are a bit easier to build, if you use a PC. KODI has a nice feature called 'smart playlists' which allow you to set criteria and automatically generate a list (genre, folder, artist, date, etc)

          • by slaker ( 53818 )

            I'd say Kodi because I think Plex handles audio poorly; I don't really like its flat organizational structure and the ongoing inability to customize your view of that. Plex also insists on interacting with metadata I don't want it to. There's no way to fix Plex, so I just don't use it for music.

            I'm a big fan of using the Music Pump Kodi Remote for Android. I like the way I can browse my music from that and send the output to whatever Kodi device I feel like using with it. How useful that is depends on where

        • Kodi for highly customizable local access and Plex Media Server for external access and transcoding for STBs, mobile devices and less capable clients (cough iOS cough)

          Why do you NEED to transcode? VLC on iOS will play the raw media files. I use it to play shows directly downloaded from my Tivo.

          • by afxgrin ( 208686 )

            Wireless links, remote users when you have limited upload bandwidth and mobile streaming if you don't want to rape your data plan.

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        It's not so kludgy really.

        I use emby as my media server. It provides a shared point and tv/movie metadata and eyecandy like shots and all. Their frontend (and plex's) is not that good in my opinion.

        Kodi is good when you are using a single system and that's it. There is hypothetically some semblance of shared library, but it's hard and doesn't work that well.

        Right now I have mythtv (haven't found a better working PVR backend with scheduling) and emby for managing my video content at a central location and

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We put a Plex in your Kodi so you can media while you media.

  • Full Circle. (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Thursday December 01, 2016 @12:11PM (#53401845)

    Plex started off as OSXBMC a fork of the XBMC [] when the XBMC devs were focused heavily on Windows/Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who cares? Please talk more about fake news and how we can silence conservatives under the guise of protecting everyone.

  • F Cloud auth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rtkluttz ( 244325 ) on Thursday December 01, 2016 @12:17PM (#53401873) Homepage

    I absolutely will not use any product that requires me to authenticate to something outside my firewall to access something inside my firewall. They don't get to know what when where I am accessing my shit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm actually surprised that someone hasn't made a plex-de-auth patch / plugin / crack / etc...

      Because I'm all for OSS and I'm all for paying for software (even closed source) but I'm NOT fine with paying a subscription for something that I don't think should need outside access....

      This is the same reason why I don't have a smart thermostat....

      • Then you haven't researched smart thermostats enough.

        Radio Thermostat Company of America has an API (you can run you thermostat with bash scripts and curl if you want).

        For others like my Carrier/Bryant there's a Perl project that MITM it so it can't talk to the outside. (Which doesn't require an subscription fee)

      • Yea because no zwave or a million other smart thermostats exist?

        • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
          zwave thermostats still "require" outside access unless you hack it, unless things have changed relatively recently. I'm looking at acquiring a Radio Thermostat Company product for my needs, so corrections are particular pertinent. I'm looking to playing with my rooted wink hub this holiday season.
          • No hacks required zwave is a local non IP RF protocol it would be impossible for it to require outside access it has no concept of it, zwave hubs like vera support disconnected operations as a feature (openhab if you want OSS).

            Now your hub choice a wink might want/need internet connectivity but just get a better hub.

            I like those guys thermostats picked up 4 CT22's new off ebay for less than 100 total (looks like a ge badged model is 15 ish right now), and they have been working great for a few years. I hav

            • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

              You pushed me over the hump to buy a couple of the RTs.

              As for hubs, when I picked up the wink, there weren't yet many choices. I haven't gone back to see what's there now. Plus, I had another requirement at the time, which no longer applies.

              • Like I said no problems with them. I do a bit of ugly code in openhab to change when the setback begins and ends for my radiant floor heating zones thats the one thing the nest things is supposed to learn. Really it only matters on something with a big lag like a huge concrete slab.

                Zwave hubs can be hard to find the vera 3 I use was released in 2011 3 years before wink, homeseer is pretty ancient released in 99 and picked up zwave support in 03.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Plex Server does come with a setting that allows you to specify a network that does not require authentication. There are also plugins made for XBMC/Kodi that allows it to communicate with Plex: PlexBMC and PlexConnect.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You do release this is optional. And even if you do require authentication, you can whitelist IP and IP ranges that don't require authentication. I whitelist the IPs for my Rokus, FireTV, etc.

    • That's probably why Plex made this plugin. Too many people were just using Kodi, and ignoring Plex. This is just Plex saying "Hey, I'm Mr Meeseeks! Look at me!"
      • I still run Kodi on my HTPC and have used PleXMBC for several years. The Plex player app was never that good, and Kodi is excellent from an interface perspective. But Kodi only had a shared library back-end database with no official stream lined daemon.

        I'm not a fan of how uncustomize-able Plex is, but it's library is really nice to have. Being able to use Kodi at home, but then fire up Plex on my phone and stream something from my server to a Chromecast at a friend's house is great. Also having kids be

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You absolutely don't need a Plex account to use Plex. It fights you during installation of the client, presenting a deceptive UI that makes it look like an account is required, but it is not. The clients will still work on iOS/Android/PCs, but I think some of the embedded ones (like TiVo or TVs) won't.

      Without a Plex account, you lose some of the feature set (streaming stuff externally, tracking usage/last played among multiple users, etc). Of course on the other hand there is no list outside your network of

    • Doesn't it need to go outside your firewall so that you can connect to it from the outside? Or rather, so that _Joe User_ can connect from the outside? Specifically, to connect outside-your-home users to your home through a third party, because your cable company could give you a different IP address?

  • I have no idea what any of it means, but I'm sure it's awesome.

  • I use Kodi nee XBMC at home. I have my media library on an SMB server, and it works pretty well with 2Kodi and some VLC clients scattered across iOS and some PCs. Why would i want plex?

    • Sometimes people want to leave their house. I know, its crazy but true.
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        > Sometimes people want to leave their house. I know, its crazy but true.

        In that case I just copy stuff onto my phone.

        If I am away from home, chances are that I am completely disconnected from my home machine or such access is prohibitively expensive.

        • Plex is easier and does the same thing, with an attractive interface. Running a samba server and copying files isn't difficult, but it's time wasted when an easier solution exists. Plus, doing this via Plex means you always have access to your full library.

          If I'm away from home, I have a phone with 4G (unlimited data for $50/month), or maybe I run wifi at work.

          It's so easy and works so well, I see it as a no-brainer. You don't need a subscription pass for many use cases; I don't have one and my wife and

      • Sometimes people want to leave their house. I know, its crazy but true.

        Kodi runs on my cellphone. I know, it's crazy but true.

    • Plex is supported on hardware that won't run Kodi, like a lot of Smart TVs and iOS. You can also use it to share access to content with other Plex users, so for example my brother in Prague can watch stuff on my server without me having to walk him through setting up a VPN connection

    • Kodi's only documented centralized library feature is through a RDBMS and it only works if all clients have the same version of Kodi. Kodi headless mode is undocumented and woe to you if you want to get it working. Plex provides a shared media library which handles metadata for all clients. If you have many clients, and you would like the all to be able to use the same metadata so you only have to manage that once, you want to use Plex. (Or you want headless Kodi to be documented... but HAHAHA)

  • by clifwlkr ( 614327 ) on Thursday December 01, 2016 @12:27PM (#53401947) []

    A bit more insight into this in the announcement from the company itself rather than an article on the announcement.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "How can we make users pay *US* for them to access their OWN content, on THEIR servers"...?

    • by clifwlkr ( 614327 ) on Thursday December 01, 2016 @12:46PM (#53402091)
      Honestly it is much more than that. Like a song you are listening to? You can queue up a 'plex mix' which queues other songs similar to the one you are listening to. Actually works pretty good. Need to transcode that video from a codec not supported on your playback device? Plex does this. I even have one running on a raspberry pi in my truck with my music on it. I have an android car radio, and run their client as my music in the truck. Can pick a genre, song, etc and queue a plex mix while I am driving. All running on Linux. Also downloads and manages trailers for movies, etc. Want to watch a movie or listen to a song while at your hotel on business, or on the road? Plex provides an interface for that as well, with bandwidth optimization with re-encoding.

      BTW, most of this functionality is available in the free version. If you want some of the more advanced features, you can choose to pay them for it. I pay for the pass primarily because I want to support their development of a server that really is great for all your media.

      Or you could simply use an SMB share for all your music and hunt around by filename. A very different experience. I haven't even scratched the surface on the organizational capabilities for large collections that plex provides.
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        The only really interesting thing you mentioned is "Music DNA" and there's really only one app that does that right and it's not Plex.

        As far as portable music goes... something like the empeg was an interesting idea in the 90s but not so much now.

        • by slaker ( 53818 )

          Can you clarify what product has a working "music DNA" function? I'd love to see something like that actually work. In my experience and for my taste (contemporary classical music) it seems that nothing does what it's supposed to.

    • "How can we make users pay *US* for them to access their OWN content, on THEIR servers"...?

      ... utilizing Free and Open Source Software ...

  • by slaker ( 53818 ) on Thursday December 01, 2016 @12:53PM (#53402131)

    I'm not sure why this is news, since PlexBMC has been an available plug-in for Kodi for at least the past several years.

    I suppose it's just a matter of that the Plex plugin for Kodi was essentially a DLNA client, which the usual crummy presentation that goes along with that, but IIRC it did show friends' Shared Libraries.

    I use Kodi at home for personal media access, but I have a Plex Server that shares the same content for external access as well. I hardly ever use it, but I certainly can. The libraries between the two are already lined up, though Kodi and Plex each have their own database and metadata storage. If the two can reconcile those two things so that I only need one back-end for both, that's something I care about.

    (Why Kodi/SPMC over Plex? Kodi offers better support for high resolution audio and has support for third-party tools for video playback, just in case I feel like throwing a GTX1080 at 4k upscaling or something).

    If, on the other hand, this is just about getting a more polished interface for Plex libraries in Kodi than the one I had via the old Plex plugin, all I can say is "meh."

    I'm a lifetime Plex Pass member, but they haven't done anything in years that makes me think a Plex Pass is anything but a donation to the project. I don't care about Kodi integration. I'd rather they work on getting music libraries to suck less or improve content filtering than get cloud streaming or Kodi integration or whatever other bullshit they've been doing lately.

  • by kalpol ( 714519 ) on Thursday December 01, 2016 @02:07PM (#53402771)
    You can run Plex just fine without a subscription. I run the backend locally on my media server with the Myth plugin and the frontends on Roku and on my phone. It pesters you to create a subscription but you can skip that and just set it up without one. Then I VPN to watch content remotely, without going through the Plex cloud or whatever it is.
    • Yep. I've been using Plex for years without a subscription. I don't use the feature for viewing outside my house, so I just never really had a need to subscribe. Using a VPN to connect into your home network would be the perfect way to avoid the whole Plex Cloud for authenticating to get access to your own stuff.

  • My KODI box is independent and only streams local stuff. Its a vault of stability and security in an ever changing software landscape. No logins, it just works. No thanks Plex. Full disclaimer: I have a lifetime sub to Plex, still dont want my Plex players to co-mingle with my KODI players.
  • "Plex and Kodi, two popular home theater apps, can get both of them together."

    Editors are your friend, USE THEM.

    For fuck's sake, this is embarrassing. Do you guys even read the submissions or is it just a matter of managing to get the cursor over the "Publish" button?

  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Thursday December 01, 2016 @03:12PM (#53403303)

    Plex Media server would be a relative resource hog when I tried it. That plus all the nickle and diming over plexpass made me go to an emby+kodi solution for that media.

    • I have just read about emby after reading your comment, and it has made me excited. Not in the TMI way, but in the this might be what I am looking for way, even though it depends on Mono. I'm going to download an Ubuntu image for my Pine A64+ stat. Hopefully that has enough gusto to do what I want to do with it. The data is already connected to the network via another ARM SBC (a pogoplug) which also has GigE.

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        Yeah, I ended up just using their docker image. I would have preferred not to, but they don't manage their prereqs very well and end up wanting to install conflicting libraries. Still it's not too bad as it stands.

        • I did the manual install on Ubuntu Xenial on my Pine64 and it worked well. I used the standard system ffmpeg, imagemagick, sqlite3, mono. You have to apt-get install mono-complete ffmpeg imagemagick ffmpeg

          • by Junta ( 36770 )

            Yeah, for various reasons I'm running CentOS, so contending with some gnarly ancient libraries. They provide a CentOS7 repo, but conflict with versions required by base content without using localized libraries, so the container approach is the shortest answer.

  • Article Title: Plex Media Player Now Doesn't Require a Subscription; Pass Users Get Kodi Plug-in

    Plex has announced its new Kodi add-on so you can include your Plex library in Kodi (provided you're a Pass user).

    PlexPass is a $4.99/mo subscription service!
    Plex's player apps have not required a PlexPass sub to use for awhile now, but you do have to pay fix bucks for the app. Plex claims the apps are free but they only work for one minute if you don't have a PlexPass, or pay the one-time $5 "activation fee". They should just be up front and charge for the app at install.

    • Plex always releases the new features to plexpass users at first and then they become free later. They already said the official Kodi plugin will be able to be used by non-subscribers at a later date.

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH